And Then It’s Spring

Written by Julie Fogliano, Illustrated by Erin E. Stead

First you have brown,
all around you have brown
then there are seeds
and a wish for rain

This book, in both its words and pictures, perfectly evokes that awkward season between winter and spring when the snow has mostly leached away and everything is brown, and you can never be quite sure if it is actually going to work or not this year, if things will ever start growing or if it will just stay brown forever. But there is hope. The text is lyrical and abstract, while in contrast the illustrations are very “grounded” and provide most of the narrative.* This visual narrative shows the readers a boy planting seeds in a garden and carefully tending to them, accompanied by a cohort of rabbits, a turtle, a dog, and other creatures, including some small birds that perhaps cannot be trusted to leave the seeds in the ground undisturbed. There are so many fun details to look at that the young and visually literate will have plenty to explore. Some readers will no doubt be scouring every spread for some sort of hint of green somewhere, as eager as the boy in the story for the seeds to sprout. That’s what I did, at least.

Stead won a Caldecott for her debut illustration credit (A Sick Day for Amos McGee), and once again here her unique pencil and woodblock printing technique provides a vintage, classic, sepia-toned, analog feel, as if this book could just as easily have been published 60 years ago as 2 months ago. This praise (and praise it is) in no way means to discount the value of many of the more digitally manipulated illustrations being published today; it is just great to see someone creating new and vital work in a seemingly old-fashioned way.

*In this interview with Erin Stead it is revealed that the words began as a simple poem that her friend (Julie Fogliano) shared with her, which Erin then had the opportunity to illustrate as a picture book.

Review by Joshua Whiting, Granite District Library Media Program
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades K and Up

And Then It’s Spring
Written by Julie Fogliano, Illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Roaring Brook Press
32 pages
Release Date: February 14, 2012
ISBN: 9781596436244 (hardcover)

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11 thoughts on “And Then It’s Spring”

  1. Sharon P. Christensen

    This is definitely my kind of book. I can just imagine myselfl reading it to a group of children. Delightful book!

  2. What a sweet and beautiful book. I loved that the animals were planting too. I want to look for the green! I would love a copy of this for our library!!

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